SAN FRANCISCO—The Dallas Mavericks probably woke up Saturday morning kicking themselves because they blew a 19-point lead Friday and lost Game 2 of this Western Conference Finals series to the Golden State Warriors, 126-117.Luka

After winning two games at home, the Warriors now lead this best-of-seven series, 2-0.

“The Warriors are good,” coach Jason Kidd said. “They’re a good team. We executed there for a little bit.

“Again, the guys came out and executed from the start and put ourselves in a position to win on the road.”

The Mavs led, 72-58, after intermission after scoring 40 points during a massive offensive explosion in the second quarter. But the Mavs missed too many shots in the second half when they only scored 45 points.

“Yes, they do have championship experience, and I guess you could say we don’t,” guard Jalen Brunson said. “But it was also us just not playing defense to the level that we’re capable of, and that’s the reason why we lost.”

Here are our five takeaways from the nine-point loss to the Warriors.

THIRD QUARTER MELTDOWN: The Mavs had control of the game. They led, 53-34, in the second quarter, and 72-58, at the half. Then came the dreadful third quarter when the Warriors outscored the Mavs, 25-13. That turned the game in the Warriors’ favor and they fell into Kidda grove from there. The Mavs were just 2-of-13 from three-point range in the third quarter. “We have to understand when we shoot three or four threes in a row and miss, you’ve got to get to the rim and got to get the ball into the paint (and) got to get to the free-throw line,” coach Jason Kidd said. “That’s just understanding the situation, learning, and maybe it is experience.  But when you go 2-for-13 and you rely on the three, you can die by the three. And we died in the third quarter by shooting that many threes and coming up with only two.’

WARRIORS ATTACKED THE PAINT: While the Mavs were very reliant on the three-point shot, the Warriors were busy attacking the basket and producing dunk after layup after dunk. In all, the Warriors outscored the Mavs inside the paint, 62-30. Stephen Curry (32 points), Jordan Poole (23 points), Kevon Looney (21 points, 12 boards), Klay Thompson (15 points) and Otto Porter Jr. (11 points) all took turns slashing to the rim and penetrating the Mavs’ defense. “They attacked the paint,” Kidd said. “We’ve got to protect the rim. When we go back to look at that, that’s one of the things that we have to do better.” Luka Doncic agreed, saying: “I think we relied too much on the three. We weren’t attacking the paint that much, but we got to attack the paint more like they did. They attacked the paint a lot. They have two of the best shooters in the world and they still attack the paint. So I think we’ve got to rely less on the three.”

NO REBOUNDS, DIFFICULT TO WIN: Rebounding the basketball was a huge problem for the Mavs in Game 2. Hustling all over the place while being in the right place at the right time, the Warriors outrebounded the Mavs, 43-30. That includes doubling up the Mavs on the offensive end of the boards, eight to four. Kevon Looney led the way for Golden State with a game-high 12 rebounds, Stephen Curry grabbedLuka eight rebounds, Otto Porter Jr. had seven boards, Draymond Green collected six rebounds before fouling out, and Andrew Wiggins contributed five rebounds. “I think people may forget, but Loon was a big part of a couple of those championships,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “The last two he played a lot of minutes. We trusted him to switch and guard James Harden when we played Houston in those series (in 2016 and ’18). So he’s always been a guy we could trust in the playoffs. And to have him now, I don’t know where we’d be without him, frankly, because he’s just a huge part of our team.”

DONCIC OVERCAME AN ILLNESS: All that talk about Andrew Wiggins being a top-notch defender after Luka Doncic tallied just 20 points in Game 1 of this series turned out to be a very short conversation. In Game 2, Doncic poured in 18 points – in the first quarter. And he wasn’t done. The four-year veteran finished with 42 points, five rebounds, eight assists and three steals. And he was battling an illness and a sore right shoulder. Imagine the damage Doncic would have done had he been healthy. Doncic was 12-of-23 from the field, and converted half of his 10 three-point attempts while showing the world he will not have two off games in a row. “You know, they did a better job tonight of attacking us in the high screen,” Kerr said. “We were trying to show with Steph and Jordan, and they Lukawere really setting solid screens up there and freeing (Doncic) up a little bit more. So it was a difficult cover, but Wiggs is staying really determined and trying to stay with him as best he can. But obviously Doncic is an amazing player. It’s a tough job.”

BENCH SCORING: That huge boost the Warriors got from their bench was one of the main reasons they were able to get over the hump Friday and take a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven series. Jordan Poole came off the bench and played like a seasoned veteran. When Poole wasn’t attacking the basket, he was draining three-pointers or drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. In 29 minutes, Poole scored 23 points, handed out five assists and collecting two steals. He was 7-of-10 from the field, 2-of-4 from three-point land and 7-of-7 from the free throw line in an all-around yeoman’s performance that helped the Warriors outscore the Mavs’ bench 36-13. Also off the bench for Golden State, Otto Porter Jr. tossed in 11 points and was 4-of-4 from the field. Davis Bertans led the Mavs’ bench with six points in seven minutes on 2-of-3 shots.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

Share and comment

More Mavs News